Officials from various government ministries met on Tuesday to commence discussions relating to discipline in schools. The aim is to create a national policy that will have the input of stakeholders across the length and breadth of St. Lucia.
District Counselor Jenny Joseph told the media that while each school may have different ways in which they discipline students, the Ministry of Education is looking to have a standard policy.
This policy will be implemented in all schools and will allow for a greater outcome of student behaviour and create a new approach to how discipline is administered at school.
Correcting negative behavior without violating child rights will also be looked at. Child advocates have been calling for an end to corporal punishment in schools for a number of years now.
While some schools continue to use corporal punishment, others have already adopted the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) child friendly framework. Joseph said the implementation of this initiative has shown positive results thus far.
Education Minister Dr. Robert Lewis had promised to have his ministry look into the matter of corporal punishment. However, he a decision must be made in consultation with the St Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU), the National Principals Association (NPA) and parents.
UNICEF has said that violence against children remains legal throughout much of the world although some countries have moved to ban or limit violence in the home, at school, in care institutions or in the penal system.
But the organization believes in order to legally ban all forms of violence against children, including violent discipline, countries must explicitly prohibit the practice and also eliminate any provisions that allow its continued use.